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Top Stories for the Week of November 14, 2018

  • Episode 582
  • November 14, 2018

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday November 14, 2018


Google data for search and cloud services went astray for more than an hour on Monday thanks to an "ugly" mistake by an African ISP.

Google data for search and cloud services went astray for more than an hour on Monday thanks to an "ugly" mistake by an African ISP.

The data was sent the wrong way when MainOne Cable, in Nigeria, updated address books for key network hardware.

The update saw it claim to be the best way to reach millions of Google net addresses.

The mistake spread to other networks and led to Google traffic travelling via China and Russia.

In a tweet, MainOne said the mistake had been made during a "planned network upgrade".

It added: "The error was corrected within 74 minutes and processes put in place to avoid reoccurrence."

All the different networks that make up the internet constantly swap information about the best way to reach other parts of the global system.

Mistakes on one network can mean traffic is re-routed the wrong way.

Google said it had spotted the error and blamed it on "incorrect routing" of data.

A spokesman for the search giant said all traffic sent the wrong way was encrypted, which should "limit" any damage caused by it being misdirected.

Later on Monday web company Cloudflare was hit by a second MainOne Cable mistake that also saw much of its traffic re-routed.

In a statement, Matthew Prince, chief executive of Cloudflare, said the mistake had probably been made as a result of a network meeting in Nigeria in early November.

He said, typically, the meetings prompt ISPs to set up more data-sharing agreements with each other. The mistake that re-routed data had been made while a new data-sharing link had been being created.

"This was a big, ugly screw-up," he said. "Intentional route leaks we've seen to do things like steal crypto-currency are typically far more targeted."

Mr Prince's explanation defused earlier claims that the re-routing had been an attempt to steal data.

Ameet Naik from net security company ThousandEyes had characterised the incident as "grand theft internet" and said it was "unlikely" to be accidental.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Seagate and IBM are using IBM's blockchain tech to verify a disk drive's authenticity using its electronic fingerprint.

Seagate and IBM are using IBM's blockchain tech to verify a disk drive's authenticity using its electronic fingerprint.

The blockchain drive is apparently a way for the firm to deal with the problem of fake or counterfeit drives. These may be sold online and are typically relabelled old drive units boasting higher capacities and speeds. Because they are older drives, their lifetime will be shorter than new drives as well as having lower than labelled capacity and speed.

The idea is that Seagate furnishes an electronic ID (eID) at the time of manufacture and registers this, with product authentication data, on IBM's blockchain platform in its public cloud. The blockchain platform is powered by the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Fabric distributed ledger framework.

This blockchained eID can be updated during the drive's life, with, for example, a digital certificate of data purge, electronically signed by the device under a Seagate Secure public key infrastructure (PKI). This would be stored on the blockchain for compliance management with emerging global data privacy laws.

We're told the blockchained eID provides an immutable record of disk drive events. It means that, if a drive is offered for sale, its provenance could be authenticated so that you know if the 14TB 7,200rpm EXOS drive is for real and not a cheap old relabelled 8TB 5,400rpm drive.

The theory sounds good but the practice in the real world will depend upon the cost and practicality of access. You would need drive details from the seller in order to check them on the IBM blockchain platform, and the seller might not be forthcoming, especially with online sales.

IBM and Seagate quoted an International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition statistic, saying the global trade in counterfeit and pirated electronic products has reached more than $1.7 trillion in value.

Source: www.theregister.co.uk

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


The flying motorbike is back in Dubai -- and you could see the police riding one in the not-too-distant future.

The flying motorbike is back in Dubai -- and you could see the police riding one in the not-too-distant future.

A year after California-based startup Hoversurf showcased its hoverbike at tech expo GITEX in the white and green detailing of the Dubai Police, the company has returned with a new model and evidence its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle might be, well, taking off.

Making good on a deal signed in 2017, Hoversurf has now gifted Dubai Police its first serial production unit of the S3 2019 Hoverbike and has begun training officers to fly it.

The general director of Dubai Police's artificial intelligence department described the eVTOL vehicle as a first responder unit used to access hard to reach areas. He said he aims to have hoverbikes in action by 2020. He said "Currently we have two crews already training (to pilot the hoverbike) and we're increasing the number."

oversurf chief operating officer Joseph Segura-Conn explained that ideal candidates will be able to ride a motorcycle and have drone operating experience.

Segura-Conn said Dubai Police have exclusive rights to order as many units as they want: "They're going to let us know in the next month or two if they'd like any more ... If they would like 30 or 40, we'll make it happen for them."

If you're not a member of the force and have a spare $150,000, the hoverbike could still be yours. Orders are open to civilians, but Segura-Conn cautions that buyers are screened to ensure they can handle the new tech. In the US, the hoverbike has met Federal Aviation Administration guidelines which mean you do not need a pilot's license to fly the vehicle.

A manufacturing site for the S3 2019 is yet to be confirmed, but Segura-Conn said Hoversurf is in talks "with three companies in different locations around the world" -- Dubai being one location.

Hoversurf also has a bigger, two-seater flying car it plans to showcase in "four to five months" and sell in 2020, said Segura-Conn.

Source: www.cnn.com

Sent to us by: Jeff Weston


Samsung will soon test TVs that can be controlled with your brain: a technology enhancement perfect for people with disabilities.

Samsung will soon test TVs that can be controlled with your brain: a technology enhancement perfect for people with disabilities.

Samsung TVs are already some of the most popular options for high-end home theater systems, and the company is now using its television-making prowess to help people with disabilities live more normal lives. A new project by a Samsung team in Switzerland could yield the first smart TV that can be controlled with thoughts.

Samsung has partnered with Swiss scientists to bring the system to life. Called ‘Project Pontis,’ the ultimate goal is to build a brain/software interface that will allow individuals with movement disabilities to control television features like channel switching and volume control with their brains rather than their bodies.

Brain-controlled gadgets aren’t entirely new — you can even buy simple brain-controlled “Mindflex” games made by Mattel if you want to play around with the technology in your own home — but the Project Pontis system is significantly more robust.

At present, the system combines brain monitoring sensors and eye-tracking hardware to identify what selections the individual intends to make. Going forward, the partnership hopes to make the system smart enough to accept commands via brain commands alone, meaning that you’d only need to think about changing the volume for the action to be performed.

Now, before you go thinking this is the ultimate accessory for a lazy channel surfer or Netflix binge-watcher, it’s important to note that this is all aimed specifically at aiding those with severe disabilities. Samsung hasn’t even hinted at the idea that this would be a commercially available product. That being said, if the technology reaches a point where it’s essentially plug-and-play, it’s hard to imagine Samsung or another company at least testing the waters with everyday consumers.

In any case, the project is still in a relatively early stage, with Samsung forecasting new prototype testing sometime in early 2019. If a thought-controlled TV ever does arrive, it likely won’t be for quite a while.

Source: bgr.com

Sent to us by: Jeff Weston


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